We all attend social functions from time to time, and occasionally it’s our turn to play host. From wedding showers to housewarmings, holiday parties and neighborhood gatherings, we’ve all hosted social events in our home, and it’s not uncommon for alcohol to be served during these get-togethers. When hosting parties and events, however, the host is responsible for much more than just the food, drinks and atmosphere. They’re also responsible for the safety and wellbeing of their guests, and that’s something alcohol can easily compromise if abused.
With prom and graduation season right around the corner, it’s crucial for parent hosts to understand what exactly he or she is responsible for when alcohol is involved.
Laws regarding a host’s liability to his or her guests when alcohol is served varies by state. In some states, the host carries no burden of liability to his or her guests when serving alcohol in his or her home. In other states, the host is only at risk if he or she deliberately and recklessly over-serves a guest who then causes harm to himself or another guest, or gets behind the wheel of a car and causes an accident or destroys or damages property. Still, 37 of 50 states in the U.S. have some form of social host law in place, meaning hosts carry some amount of liability in most parts of the country.
Ultimately, the one law that is universal across every states and all jurisdictions regarding liability of a social host is the illegality of serving alcohol to a minor.
Although the focus of your party should be on entertaining your guests and making sure they have a good time, there are many things you can do to make sure your guests are safe and lessen the possibility that you’ll be held responsible for a guest’s actions after drinking too much.
Many states impose liability when an employer hosts an event for a business-related purpose. While laws vary greatly, state to state, an employer host generally has a greater duty to his/her employee guests. This is due to the feeling that an employee feels obligated to attend an office party or other business-related event and participate in whatever activities are planned.
Some, but not all, homeowner’s insurance policies will provide coverage when social host laws come into play, but many times the result of social host cases will exceed the limit of a homeowner’s policy. It might be a good idea to have a personal umbrella policy in place. A personal umbrella policy will supplement your other personal insurance policies, like home and auto insurance, and will go into effect when the liability limits on those policies are reached.
Essentially, it’s an insurance policy on top of your other insurance policies, and it will ensure that even if social host laws exhaust your homeowner’s policy, you won’t pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for the reckless behavior of a guest in your home. An umbrella policy is often very affordable, usually costing policyholders less than $1 per day.
Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia and with a mid-west office in Louisville, Kentucky, Foundation Insurance Group is an independent full-service insurance agency specializing in auto, home, life, and business insurance. Since our founding in 1994 the mission has been simple: “Our mission is to provide solid solutions backed by superior service at a competitive price.” For years we’ve partnered with a variety of top rated insurance carriers to fulfill this mission and to provide our clients with tailored insurance programs that fit the unique needs of an individual or business.
The insurance professionals at Foundation Insurance Group are ready to review your current homeowners and umbrella policies, ask the right questions, and make sure that your personal insurance meets all your needs. For more information about homeowners, auto, life, and business insurance, contact us today at, or visit our website: www.foundationinsurancegroup.com.